Japan is seriously concerned about the move by China’s parliament to go forward with national security legislation for Hong Kong which observers fear might endanger its special autonomy and freedoms.
In a rare statement issued minutes after the security bill was approved, Japan’s foreign ministry on Thursday called Hong Kong an extremely important partner, underscoring close economic ties and people-to-people exchanges.
“Japan is seriously concerned about the (Chinese parliament’s) decision,” the ministry statement said.
“It is the long-standing policy of Japan to attach great importance to upholding a free and open system which Hong Kong has been enjoying and the democratic and stable development of Hong Kong under the ‘One Country Two System’ framework.”
Japan’s foreign ministry summoned Beijing’s ambassador to Tokyo to convey its concern over the situation and said it would carefully observe further developments in Hong Kong.
The Chinese government’s security law for the city is fuelling fears Beijing is imposing its authority and eroding the high degree of autonomy the former British colony has enjoyed under the framework since it returned in 1997 to Chinese rule.
China says the legislation is aimed at tackling secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in the city, but the plan – unveiled in Beijing last week – has triggered the first big protests for months in Hong Kong.
Tokyo says it has conveyed its views to Beijing and it will carefully observe further developments in Hong Kong.
In London, Britain’s government has also expressed extreme concerned about China’s legislation on national security for Hong Kong,, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday.
“We are deeply concerned about China’s legislation relating to national security … We have been very clear that the security legislation risks undermining the principle of one nation, two systems,” the spokesman said, adding that foreign minister Dominic Raab had spoken late on Wednesday to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“The steps taken by the Chinese government place the joint declaration under direct threat,” he added, referring to the 1984 agreement between the UK and China that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy would remain unchanged for 50 years.